table of contents This week's tablehopper: it's ok to be a haighter.

the chatterbox
the word on the street

the regular
it's about time we met
the lush

put it on my tab
the wino
in vino veritas

the socialite
the starlet
no photos please

the sponsor
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JULY 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I’m the first to admit it: my social calendar has been out of control this past week. And my dance card. Full-tilt boogie.imageLast Tuesday, I got to check out the Prada store opening party (uh, hello, catering by Thomas Keller, who I spotted roaming around for a split second—thank you for the best summer corn soup of my life, and yay on the free-flowing Ruinart), and I finished my faux-society evening with some tipple at Clock Bar and Le Club; Wednesday was the swell/swill Tequila and corn dinner at Orson; Thursday I was in Napa doing research for a wine country piece I’m workin’ on, where I got to experience the outstanding Beard House tasting menu at ubuntu; and Friday I happily punched the clock and stayed in—shocking, I know, but I wanted a salad and a booze-free night… And I was gearing up for Saturday, which I knew was going to be quite the kicker.

So, about that Saturday: I tripped the light fantastic with two charming Texan ladies who won a Visit California promotion that included a "night on the town with the tablehopper." Poor things, it was like culinary boot camp! We started with cocktails and bites at Jardinière (mmm, the Pesca di Milano made with Dimmi, fresh peach, Bluecoat Gin, and lemon went great with the pork belly sliders), hopped in the Town Car to Spruce for a swank dinner (the ladies were impressed with the whole show), and then finished with dessert at Michael Mina. I then hailed a cab, pulled a Superman quick change at home, making the taxi wait outside, and headed back out to burn off some calories dancing until some ungodly hour at Mezzanine. After writing all day Sunday (I gotta work sometime), I went out late for even more dancing at Mezzanine, home by a conservative 2am. Hey, at least I live up to my name. And who let the dogs out? I better watch it, before someone calls animal control on me.

I am really looking forward to tonight’s tablehopper supper at Rubicon. I know a couple folks had to cancel, so there’s some room if you still want to come! It’s going to be such a special dinner (The pig! The wine! The people! The rumors!), so I hope you can make it.

Coming up: I’m going to be moderating a very cool panel at The Commonwealth Club’s INFORUM on Wednesday August 20th called “Top Chefs Tell All.” You’ll be able to read all about it in the socialite (yes, almost all of our local contestants from this year’s recent Top Chef season will be on the panel). Since I sure a lot of folks will want tickets to this event, I have a pair of tickets to give away!

Here’s how to win: submit the (burning) question you’d like to ask the panel to I’ll pick the most interesting question, or just the one I think really should be asked. The winner will not only get a pair of tickets to the panel, but also gets to ask their question at the event (you’ll be put at the front of the queue during the Q&A part of the program). Just submit your question to by midnight on Friday August 1st and I’ll let you know if you won next week!

We also have my favorite local “hophead” Dave McLean, who wrote a wino piece on what else, but beer! In honor of his inaugural visit to the ‘hopper, I decided it was the perfect time for an update on his second SF project, The Alembic. Read all about it in the regular.

See you on the town! (Uh huh.)

~Marcia  subscribe
the chatterbox

advertise on tablehopperJULY 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Drama over at ~CAFE MAJESTIC~: GM Ryan Maxey is uh, suddenly no longer working there, and now executive chef Ian Begg and the bar manager have given their notice. Begg’s last day will be August 6th (hello restaurant folks, here are some quality folks to snap up!). The restaurant is currently looking for a new chef, we’ll see who they hire. It’s a shame what’s happened—it was the perfect place to send folks looking for a quieter, classy evening with well-executed food. Will keep you posted on where Begg lands. 1500 Sutter St. at Gough, 415-441-1100.

While I was at the Praaaaaaada opening party (yes, darling, nibbling on spoons of caviar, go ahead and keep hatin’), I ran into Martel Toler of Martel and Nabiel nightlife fame/infamy (ha ha). Ends up the late-night duo have been brought on as consulting partners for the ~BAR FLORENCE~ project, Tyler Florence’s first namesake restaurant that is moving into the Empire Plush Room. I got a few more details about the project: since it’s part of the hotel (formerly the York, now the Vertigo), there is a lobby with casual/café seating that will offer coffee, light breakfast, and snacks during the day, plus bar food until 1am on the weekends. The 80-seat dining room will serve dinner nightly, and will also have a private dining room accessible through the kitchen, a chef’s table of sorts, that will look into the dining room. A skylight in the atrium has been revealed, a cool feature. The lounge area will have a classy atmosphere, and look for some Vertigo-era décor elements. I’ll have more about the menu in the coming months. Oh, and it’s looking like a January opening. 940 Sutter St. at Leavenworth.

The Vintage 415 chaps are busy with two upcoming projects. I was wondering who was going into the ~BISTRO YOFFI~ space in the Marina after learning it was on the market a few months back, and the answer is Nate Valentine, Sam Josi, and Stryker Scales—they’ll be opening an American gastropub in January or February of 2009. The guys take over the space at the end of September, and will be transforming it to include a “living room,” library, and the back garden will be spruced up. The presently unnamed restaurant will be open for dinner seven nights a week, serving casual and simple fare, with a few nods to English pub classics, like bangers and mash, and pot pie. An executive sous chef will be hired to carry out Sam Josi and Daniel Burckhard of Blue Barn Gourmet’s culinary vision; and some produce will hail from Josi’s family’s farm, Oak Hill Farm in Glen Ellen. And yup, there’s a full bar. 2231 Chestnut St. at Pierce.

Things are also getting closer on Vintage 415’s project (Nate Valentine, Demetrius Chapin-Rienzo and Todd Palmerton are on this one, partnering with Gian-Paolo Veronese) in the Jackson Square area called ~AVENTINE~ (rhymes with Valentine); it’s named after one of the hills of ancient Rome. It’s a two-level space dating back to the 1850s, and was formerly a clothing boutique. It actually has a wall downstairs that was the retaining wall to the pier along the water—remember, this was the Barbary Coast before all the landfill came in.

The focus will be primarily on meeting the needs of the local lunch set, opening at 10am for the day traders, plus offering a new hangout for the happy hour/after work crowd. In fact, downstairs there will be 40 lockers, where individuals/companies can have their own liquor lock box, a house account of sorts, and list five people on a “manifest” who are allowed to drink from your stash; Aventine will replenish the lockers and bill ya each month. The downstairs will be reserved from 3pm–7pm for locker holders only. Not like they’re encouraging consumption, wait, maybe they are, because there will also be coins handed out at the bar, one per drink you consume. Collect four and you get a freebie. Now, that is what I call hard currency.

There will be an all-day menu of rustic Italian fare, including piadine, seafood and shellfish like cracked crab, salads, and charcuterie and cheese; there isn’t a hood in the kitchen, just convection ovens, hence the simpler fare. The chef was originally going to be Adolfo Veronese, but he’s busy with a cool gig in Vegas, so they are currently interviewing. The look will be Old World, with exposed brick, smoky mirrors, maps, oil paintings, some nautical elements, and the original supporting columns of redwood have been made into the bar—actually, there are two bars: one upstairs, another downstairs. Hours will run from 10am until midnight Mon–Tue, and until 2am Wed–Sat, opening at 5pm on Saturday, and closed Sunday. Look for an early September opening. 582 Washington St. at Hotaling (between Montgomery and Sansome).

How cute: ~PICCINO~ is not living up to its name, and is actually expanding! Well, true to form though, it’s a teensy expansion: owners Sher and Margherita are moving the coffee part of the business into a small space a few doors down, so folks can order their coffee at a window that will have pop-out shelves. There will also be some grab-and-go items, like panini and baked goods. Customers will still be able to savor their coffee or cappuccino at the tables at Piccino next door if they want to linger… Meanwhile, the restaurant will be gaining about another precious five spots or so. Look for the coffee window to be open for business in late September. Hours for the window will be 7am–6pm. 801 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-824-4224.

More café news: the nice folks behind the now-closed ~CAFE CRESCENDO~ will not be reopening in San Francisco, and have decided to relocate to the Denver metro area. Best wishes to them.

And now, the mystery business section. A tablehopper reader let me know that there is a ~NEW ITALIAN CAFÉ~ opening at 59 30th Street at San Jose. Anyone who lives over there know what this place is called? I didn’t have a chance to schlep out there and find out.

Another tablehopper reader was asking what is opening at ~CALIFORNIA AT 17TH AVENUE~, where the coffee shop called California Grind previously was. The business owner reportedly closed her doors on July 1st, due to an ongoing battle with the landlord over an increase in rent. One neighbor heard a rumor about a wine bar. Anyone know anything? 5501 California St. at 17th Ave.

More vague wine bar news: some ABC paperwork mentions ~PURE VINO~, and lists Michael Benziger. From what I could gather, this is an independent project from Benziger Family Winery, although it is the nephew of Mike Benziger/son of Bob Benziger. The business in going into the former Burton’s Pharmacy space in the Marina. I’ll keep you posted as details emerge. 2016 Chestnut St. at Fillmore.

In the Upper Haight, the ~COCO-LUXE CONFECTIONS~ retail shop I mentioned back in April has opened. Truffles, espresso, and hot chocolate are available, plus a few stools to perch on. Open 11am–7pm. 1673 Haight St. at Cole.

Over in North Beach, ~PANTA REI~ was granted a conditional use permit to expand into the adjacent and former shoe repair store on Columbus. It was reportedly a very emotional hearing, with about 40 Italians in attendance, including competing business owners who were there in a show of support. 431 Columbus Ave. at Vallejo, 415-591-0900.

This season’s Top Chef winner and fan favorite, ~STEPHANIE IZARD~, is cooking a special Top Chef dinner this Saturday August 2nd at Mission Beach Café with executive chef Ryan Scott, who was a contestant on the same season with her. They are co-creating and presenting a tasting menu highlighting their signature styles, followed by dessert from the café’s pastry chef extraordinaire, Alan Carter. Five-course, prix-fixe dinner, $95 per person, exclusive of alcohol, tax, and gratuity. Space is limited. Reservations required. 8:30pm–midnight. For reservations or additional information, call 415-861-0198, ext. 2. Mission Beach Café, 198 Guerrero St. at 14th St.

Did you read about the ~MIRACLE FRUIT PARTIES~ in the New York Times? Well, next Monday August 4th, a Miracle Fruit party will be happening here! Miracle Fruit (Sideroxylon dulcificum) is a cranberry-sized West African berry that numbs your sour and bitter taste buds for a couple of hours after eating it. What that means is everything that used to taste sour now tastes sweet. It's like a candy Willy Wonka would have invented—after eating one, stout beers taste like a chocolate milkshake, grapefruit taste like pixie sticks, cheeses tastes like frosting, and it will even make the lousiest Tequila taste like lemonade. The $25 price includes a berry, and a buffet of regular/everyday food items the event organizers have curated to showcase the transformative power of the fruit. Everything from lemons, to cheeses, to beer to other things you may not expect. A berry should give you a trip of one to two hours. Buy tickets in advance. The party will be hosted at 8pm at Temple, 540 Howard St. at 1st St.  

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Alembic [update]
1725 Haight St.
Cross: Cole St.
San Francisco, CA 94117


Daily 5pm-2am
Kitchen closes at 12am
Lunch Fri–Sun 12pm–5pm

Nibbles $1–$5
Small plates $8–$12
Desserts $8



JULY 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Hey fellas, want to make your date feel super hot? Of course you do. And it’s just one $9 cocktail away. The Gilded Lily, a seductive cocktail of Plymouth gin, yellow chartreuse, orange flower water, and a hint of demi-sec bubbles, awaits at ~THE ALEMBIC~. After a few tastes, the gold leaf that was shimmering in the lovely stemmed glass will slyly end up on your date’s lips. Lemme tell ya, the ladies will go from girlie to glamour puss in three sips. And that’s exactly when you say, “Kiss me, goldie.” This drink’s nickname should be the lovemaker. (Gents, you can thank me later with a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 year, meow.)

The selection of bourbons and whiskies here is thrilling indeed, be still my beating heart, but first, it’s time to get your clothes caught on the Barbed Wire Fence: graham-cracker infused bourbon, house-made rhubarb soda, and a strawberry that will make you snicker (hint: it goes “pop pop”).

You’ll also wonder if there’s something else the bar slipped in your drink, because as you nibble away at the bacon cracker jacks ($5), which is netting my award for bar snack of the year, at the bottom of the bowl cleverly lined with the Red Vic Theater schedule you find, wait, what is up with the little patterned baggie in there, normally relegated to contain other Haight Street illegal pleasures? Whoa, how did that get in there? No, it didn’t fall out of your fifth pocket. It’s your prize, yo! (Sorry, it won’t be a bud, so stop dreaming. Mine was a mini plastic chicken. Bwok.) Let’s just say popcorn, oolong caramel, spiced cashews, rendered bacon… you do the math.

Since the Alembic’s opening chef, Eddie Blyden, has headed to the East Bay (he’s now running the show at the gastropub Henry’s), the latest co-executive chefs to come on board are Jordan Grosser (formerly the chef de cuisine of Postrio) and Ted Fleury (of the dearly departed Winterland). And they are rocking it.

Start with the pickled quail eggs ($1), sporting a shocking violet hue, or the blistered shishito peppers ($5) with a flourish of house-smoked salt—I love praying for a hot one, you never know.

Are you really eating white asparagus in the Haight? Uh huh. Along with toasted hazelnuts and mache ($8), how fabulously bougie! I normally find white asparagus unnecessarily fussy, but this dish made me reconsider that stance. A touch overdressed, but delicious.

You like smoky? Order up the Baynes Sound clams ($10), a bowl of tender, meaty monsters in a fresh corn broth, with chunks of smoky bacon, topped with a scattering of scallion and threads of togarashi—definitely one of those “I am going to finish every last bite of this” kind of combos.

Oh yeah, and then there’s the long bone o’ bone marrow ($9) with a fat-cutting but sadly not fat-burning caper gremolata. Who knew bone marrow would pair well with a cocktail? It sure does. Kind of like oil and vinegar—you need one to help with the other. You eat because you’re getting tipsy, and you drink because, well, you’re drinking. Especially here.

A few dishes playfully push the boundaries of the “gastropub” style, integrating Asian ingredients like the delectable miso-glazed black cod ($10), brightened up with a tangy side of pickled shimeji mushrooms and radish. Loved this dish. Or the sesame that shows up in goat cheese croquettes ($8) with pickled beets. (See, your liver isn’t the only thing getting pickled.) Actually, the dishes are constructed like the cocktails here, with layers of flavor, top notch/shelf ingredients, balance, wit, and they’re seasonally driven. Everything is about appetizer sized, so plan on grazing on at least a few plates.

For dessert, don’t even try to pass up the Eagle Rare chocolate pudding ($8), thick and rich and bourbon-y, with “tipsy” cherries and the crunch of smoked salt, all tucked into a little Mason jar. Yeah, dangerous. Because where’s there’s smoke… there are lemon cupcakes ($8)! So darned cute. All three of them. And topped with cocoa nibs, quite. The handiwork of pastry chef Jenna Hodges, who worked with Boris Portnoy at Winterland, and Campton Place.

So, a few insider tips. This place is a small shotgun room, with only a few tables in the back, so in order to do some crowd control, the weekend will most likely entail a wait (like most places around town). Ah hell. I like the mellower pace of mid-week, or swing by in the late afternoon on the weekend for a little hair of the dog—and if you sit at the comfortable bar, you can even get a good spirits education. Since the kitchen serves late, that’s another bonus factor to keep in mind.

I’ve always liked the style here, with the atmospheric lighting, spiffy vintage vibe, and don’t even get me started on the wall of shimmering bottles. (If you want to read more about the look, take a peek at my original “fresh meat” review.) The Alembic is top o’ my list for a place to bring visitors to experience the SF-craft cocktail scene—the folks who work behind the bar here are some of the country’s best. Wicked talent. And the drink descriptions are their own particular brand of entertainment. But watch out, because odds are you’ll find yourself needing a taxi after perching here for more than an hour. And if you’re lucky, someone will have a hint of gold leaf on their lips.

the lush

advertise on tablehopperJULY 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Myles O’Reilly and manager Chris Shelgren have opened ~MCTEAGUE’S SALOON~ in the former Johnny Wok location on Polk Street, just next door to O’Reilly’s Holy Grail. To recap my mention back in May, the saloon is named after the book by Frank Norris, McTeague, (Frank Norris Street is a potato’s throw away), and O’Reilly is keen to keep Polk Street’s literary heritage alive. There are booths, old chandeliers, rustic/saloon-style plank tables with stools, and a 44-foot redwood-topped bar, with 18 taps of primarily West Coast ales and microbrews (although they are currently running 12)—there is also an emphasis on bourbons. Some literary readings and acoustic music are also planned, and there are some saloon-style eats that will be on offer starting next week, like bean-less Southwestern-style chili, and “toasties” (sandwiches, like ham or turkey). On the weekends, the saloon will open at 9:30am for football season, and will have a BBQ menu inspired by the SEC and Big 12 teams playing, so expect pulled pork for southern teams, or even some gumbo when Louisiana is playing. Hours are otherwise noon–2am daily. 1237 Polk St. at Sutter, 415-776-1237.

This Thursday July 31st, H Joseph Ehrmann, the owner of Elixir, is hosting ~FARMERS’ MARKET SUMMER COCKTAILS~, a hands-on class at the SF Bay Club from 6pm–8pm. Club Members: $75, non-members: $85. Order tickets online for this class or future classes here.

Here are some wino events in the East Bay: on Sunday August 3rd, ~JC CELLARS~ is hosting a Summer Beach Party, complete with everything except the beach. Their wines will be paired with light summer fare, such as grilled sausage, and a bruschetta bar. Tucker’s of Alameda will be customizing their very own JC Cellars syrah-flavored ice cream, and Fabrique Delice patés and specialty cheeses will also be available. Rockpile and Stagecoach Vineyard rosés will be poured, plus limited edition viognier from Condrieu & Seyssuel, plus the debut of the 2005 Rockpile Vineyard syrah, and some surprise older vintages. Vermillion Border will be performing lively blues/rock. The party is conveniently located near the Lake Merritt BART station and the Jack London Ferry Terminal. 1pm–5pm. $20 advance tickets or $25 at the door. JC Cellars Winery, 55 4th St., Oakland.

The East Bay Vintners Alliance is hosting the third annual ~URBAN WINE EXPERIENCE~ on Saturday August 9th. This event will feature 15 East Bay urban wineries partnering with local restaurants and food purveyors. The participating wineries and partner restaurants are: Adams Point with Whole Foods, Andrew Lane Wines with Canvas Underground, Aubin Cellars with Adagia, A Donkey and Goat with Franklin Square Wine Bar, Dashe Cellars with Fabrique Delice, Eno Wines with Savory Cook Special Event Catering, Irish Monkey with C'era Una Volta, JC Cellars with Scott's Seafood, Lost Canyon with Montclair Bistro, Periscope Cellars with Bellanico, Prospect 772 Wine Company with Patrick David's Catering, Rosenblum Cellars with Mona's Table, Tayerle Wines with Pappo, Two Mile Wines with Sea Salt, and Urbano Cellars with E-22 Café. New to this year's event will be free limousine shuttle service to and from the Lake Merritt BART station, courtesy of Angelica Limousines. Advanced purchase tickets are $45 online, and admission at the gate the day of will be $60. A ride from the San Francisco Embarcadero Ferry will drop guests right off at the doorstep of the event, and Jack London Square is easily accessible by BART and ferry. 2pm–5pm at the Meadow at Jack London Square, Oakland. (There’s an exclusive tasting for trade and media from 1pm–2pm.)

the wino

JULY 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Dave McLean fell in love with craft beer 20 years ago in Boston. He still remembers his first, eye-opening pint of cask-conditioned beer at the now-defunct Commonwealth Brewing Co. The resulting home-brewing hobby mushroomed into an obsession and he completed the Master Brewers Program at UC Davis, under the tutelage of Dr. Michael Lewis, in 1994. He built and opened Magnolia Pub & Brewery in 1997 and Alembic in 2006. He continues to explore his obsession with brewing cask-conditioned beer and English bitters at Magnolia, and supplements that by sourcing a few bottle-conditioned examples from across the pond at Alembic.

English Ales: A (Quixotic) Quest for the Perfect Pint

Artisan beer has entered a Golden Age in this country. There’s a beer for every occasion, from the most thirst-quenching “lawnmower beer” to the most complex, assertive, and envelope-pushing expressions from the cutting edge of craft brewing.

As usual, the American melting pot has afforded us a unique opportunity to draw from multiple inspirational traditions without being restricted by firm adherence to any one of them. It’s a lively time in the craft beer world, with regional styles emerging and creativity explored through barrel-aging, unusual fermentation regimes, and a surprising array of ingredients. This dovetails nicely with the rapidly exploding appreciation of beer as a versatile pairing beverage, presenting an always-growing set of possibilities.

But this is an ode to a family of beers that sometimes gets overlooked among the powerful, bracing hop monsters and mind-boggling, Belgian-inspired curiosities—the humble British bitter, and its cousins, mild and brown ales.

Despite the name, bitters aren’t so bitter, especially when compared to modern pales and IPAs. Hop character, including some bitterness, is indeed evident, but never out-of-balance or harsh. A pint of bitter is a window into the heart and soul of British brewing, which includes the use of heirloom malts like the legendary Maris Otter, earthy hops from Kent, warm fermentations with estery, fruity yeasts, and mineral-rich water that adds a crisp snap to the mouthfeel. All of these components are interpreted through a lens of subtlety and balance–a bitter is about nuanced complexity and tasting everything.

Brewers work within a range of subcategories to produce many different expressions of bitters, milds, and browns. So-called “ordinary” bitters range from gold to copper in color and present medium bitterness, light body, and medium residual malt sweetness. This is the smooth, refreshing, granddaddy of session beers. They go down easy and you can drink more than two without thinking much about what you’re doing next.

Special or Best bitters are more robust, with medium body and residual malt sweetness, and with a little more hop bitterness and aroma evident. Extra Special Bitters feature medium to strong hop characteristics, rich flavor, and full body. They range from pale amber to deep copper in color. Malt flavor dominates the flavor profile of Mild ales, whether pale or dark, pushing hop notes into the backseat. The same is true of Brown ales, in which roast, toast, and caramel notes show up more prominently.

Amazingly, every beer we’re talking about here lands somewhere between 3–5% alcohol. British brewers (and those inspired by them) do so much with so little, crafting delightful conversations by showing some restraint with ingredient amounts. This is the opposite of beating the drinker over the head with a bale of hops (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

All of these English ale expressions beg to be served in their traditional manner: cask-conditioned. Naturally carbonated to a lower level than most beer (through a re-fermentation in the cask) and then served at a cellar temperature, cask-conditioned bitters are sublime. Served directly from such a cask, or pulled to the bar through a hand pump, these beers are smooth, pleasantly refreshing, and surprisingly complex. They are often “dry-hopped” right before the cask is sealed, delivering an unparalleled, bright, fresh hop aroma to dance expertly with the other flavor notes.

But freshness is paramount in cask-conditioned bitters. Cask beer is alive and dynamic. A meter starts ticking as soon as the cask is pierced and there are only a handful of days from that point in which to find the beer at its peak of quality. Some cask ales are best the day they are tapped, others bloom on Day Two, ever-so-slightly oxidized. The unsold portion of a four-day-old cask might be facing a date with the drain.

Saddled with an inaccurate name that scares people away and a fragile nature that depends on knowledgeable and careful dispense (and a bit of luck), it seems like the deck is stacked against our friend, cask bitter. No matter, this workhorse of the beer pantheon, keeper of the flame of the ale brewing tradition, original inspiration for the American craft beer renaissance, soldiers on, richly rewarding all who seek its charms.

the socialite


Lunch Hour Chef Series
Fri. Aug. 1st, 8th, 22nd
$25 per person

Tantalizing Market Tapas
Wed. Aug. 6th, Aug 20th
$45 per person

Ferry Building
North Arcade (next to Taylor’s)
San Francisco, CA

buy tickets online

JULY 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Over at the Ferry Building, CUESA and Parties That Cook’s ~LUNCH HOUR CHEF SERIES~ is happening on Fridays this summer. Grab an apron for a hands-on cooking lesson, where you learn to make your own fresh summer sandwich and salad using ingredients hand-picked from the farmers’ market. Guests can relax and nosh at picnic tables after the cooking is done, or take lunch to-go.

The gourmet sandwich and salad series includes: grilled chicken sandwich with artichokes and hummus, arugula salad with grilled peaches, gorgonzola and pecans; and lamb and pistachio burgers with soft feta centers, and salad of watermelon, ricotta salata and pine nuts. Vegetarian options are available.

Can’t make it to the day class? There is also a series of Wednesday evening events: ~TANTALIZING MARKET TAPAS~. This class will include tips and tricks for selecting seasonal ingredients from the farmers’ market and integrating them into your everyday cooking. The recipes will include some California and international flair: pizzetta margherita: heirloom tomatoes, basil and burrata; Moroccan bisteeya baskets: chicken, dates and cinnamon; sweet corn galettes with bacon and sour cream. Heavy appetizers will be available, and complimentary wine. Vegetarian options are also available. Wines provided by


Top Chefs Tell All
Wed., Aug. 20, 2008

Commonwealth Club
595 Market St., 2nd Floor
Cross: Second St.
San Francisco, CA 94105


check-in 6pm
program 6:30pm
cocktail reception 7:30pm
dinner 8pm

standard tickets (includes program and reception): $15 members, $25 non-members

premium tickets (includes premium seating at program and five-course dinner at Mission Beach Cafe): $80 members, $95 non-members  

buy tickets

JULY 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO The Bay Gourmet Forum of the Commonwealth Club has planned a month-long series of programs called How We Eat, including cooking classes, farm tours, dining experiences, tastings, and more. In the INFORUM ~TOP CHEFS TELL ALL PANEL~, San Francisco-based contestants from the most recent season of Bravo's Top Chef will be there to dish, and answer questions.

Here’s the lineup:

Zoi Antonitsas, chef/restaurant consultant, Zazu Restaurant
Jennifer Biesty, chef/restaurant consultant, formerly of COCO500
Ryan Scott, executive chef/partner at Mission Beach Cafe
Marcia Gagliardi, founder, moderator (yup, yours truly is moderating!)

Skyy Spirits will provide complimentary cocktails at the program reception, and there is also a dinner at Mission Beach Café, where you’ll find executive chef Ryan Scott cooking. The five-course prix-fixe meal will include Skyy Spirits cocktail pairings by mixologists from Rye on the Road. Mission Beach Cafe, 198 Guerrero St. at 14th St.
the starlet

JULY 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Darling Bernadette Peters dined at Presidio Social Club, sharing the goat cheese and beet salad and the butter lettuce salad with her friend, and she then had the special of California white sea bass. Since the PSC is a big fan of playing The Jerk on their television screens, they had it running that night. On her way out, a guest stopped Bernadette and said, "Hey, they're playing your movie.” She stopped and chatted for about ten minutes, describing the scenes and what it was like working with Steve Martin. Uh, funny, right?

A tablehopper reader spotted Jerry Rice at Crustacean Sunday night with his family. He was “super nice” and posed for some pics.

Another tablehopper reader was at Americano for happy hour and saw Baron Davis sitting at a table with a bunch of friends having fun.

And yes, The Hammer is back! MC Hammer was at Junnoon in Palo Alto, along with Chamillionaire, the Grammy Award-winning platinum recording artist, plus Quincy Jones III, and the ghost ridin’ Mistah F.A.B. from Oaktown. They were at Stanford for a conference called The AlwaysOn & STVP Summit for a panel titled "Breakout: Music Artists Go Entrepreneurial,” the hit of the day.


All content © 2008 Marcia Gagliardi. I am more than happy if you want to link to my reviews and content elsewhere (thanks, glad you dig it), but republishing any part of them in any way, shape or form is strictly prohibited until we talk first. Please take a look at my Creative Commons license for more detail.

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